Beware the software developer who releases software without adequate user assistance (in plain English: user guides and online Help) for “The curse of the jilted Technical Author” may strike your product.
This curse has just hit Google, who last week announced the demise of Google Wave.
Google released Google Wave without any online Help or a guide for users – just a 45 minute video and two shorter “getting started” video guides.
We blogged at the time of its launch that this could hamper the uptake of the software, saying:
While the application clearly works (although there is some uncertainty as to whether some behaviours are “features” or bugs), this unfamiliarity means that users could give up and reject the application.
As more complex software is released as “Software as a Service” and delivered as “in the Cloud” software, it’s likely more users will struggle and stop using the product – that is, unless adequate Help is provided as well.